Afghanistan farmers grow poppies that makes opium used to fund terrorism. Now the U.S. is encouraging pomegranate as the cash crop to replace it, because farmers can make more money from pomegranate than opium. This is an effort to control terrorism.
Pomegranate has had a surge in popularity since the high anti-oxidant value of the fruit has been written about in the media. The bottled juice is popular in food stores everywhere. It also has a healthy price tag relative to other juices.
This special fruit of the Gods, pomegranate has been a favorite food since ancient times. It grows well in semi-arid climates so does well in parts of Africa, India and Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places like that. It also grows in areas of California and Arizona, the tree having been introduced into the United States in the mid 18th century.
As recently as the late 1980's sales of pomegranate in the United States were relatively low. Then came the information about its health value. That brought new interest in the fruit, giving impetus to sales.
Pomegranate has been touted as having significant health benefits in a number of areas. These are some of them according to reviews of it:
# Being rich in antioxidants, pomegranate can keep LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidizing and thus, prevents atherosclerosis.
# Pomegranate has been found to help keep blood platelets from clumping together and forming unnecessary clots.
# Regular consumption of pomegranate juice is said to be beneficial for those suffering from heart diseases.
# Researches have indicated that pomegranate compounds might prevent prostate cancer and even slowdown its growth.
# Pomegranate juice has also been associated with reducing the risk of breast cancer.
# Pomegranate juice is pretty good for those suffering from diarrhea, but it over-consumption can lead to constipation.
# Pomegranate is said to be good for reducing plaque in the arteries and raising levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
# It has been seen that pomegranate juice helps prevent heart attacks and even stroke.
# Studies have shown that maternal consumption of pomegranate juice might protect the neonatal brain from damage after injury.
# Pomegranate is believed to help prevent cartilage deterioration and thus, keep osteoarthritis at bay.
It was pointed out in 2002 that pomegranates might be the answer to the poppies grown in Afghanistan that are made into opium. A writer pointed out that Afghan farmers are religious people, hard-working people who need alternatives to make a living. The pomegranate was suggested as being that alternative and is now being advocated by the U.S. government encouraging farmers to plant the fruit rather than poppies.
The counter-narcotics strategy discusses how the United States hopes to help farmers in making the transition from growing the poppies that make opium to pomegranate. It's important to do that since the drug trade has undermined Afghanistan's economic stability.
Other agricultural products have been encouraged such as grapes, but they aren't as popular as pomegranates. but pomegranates is the major focus to get farmers to switch from growing poppies to pomegranate that might interrupt the drug trade that fuels terrorism.
Experts believe that pomegranates can give Afghanistan a long-term incentive to switch from poppies because farmers can make more money with pomegranates than with poppies. The problem, it is said, is the fact that pomegranate trees take 4-5 years to grow. In addition supply and demand can affect sales. Nevertheless, it is believed that it is a reasonable alternative given the present demand for the fruit and the fact that it can produce a healthy alternative for farmers than poppies while improving the health of the planet.